Thursday, December 18, 2014

If...


In yesterday's Life with Lynnie (LwL) entry, the topic discussed was about Pastor Saeed still being imprisoned by Muslims, in Iran.

The e-mail I had received from the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), I copied/pasted so you could read it.  Hopefully, at some point in time, you have signed ACLJ's petition, being used in an effort to have him released.

In case you weren't able to click on the link, and read the letter that Pastor Saeed actually wrote, I thought I would copy/paste it today, for you.  Here is what his letter says:

Rajai Shahr Prison 2014

Merry Christmas!

These days are very cold here. My small space beside the window is without glass making most nights unbearable to sleep. The treatment by fellow prisoners is also quite cold and at times hostile.
Some of my fellow prisoners don’t like me because I am a convert and a pastor. They look at me with shame as someone who has betrayed his former religion. The guards can’t even stand the paper cross that I have made and hung next to me as a sign of my faith and in anticipation of celebrating my Savior’s birth. They have threatened me and forced me to remove it. This is the first Christmas that I am completely without my family; all of my family is presently outside of the country. These conditions have made this upcoming Christmas season very hard, cold and shattering for me. It appears that I am alone with no one left beside me.

These cold and brittle conditions have made me wonder why God chose the hardest time of the year to become flesh and why He came to the earth in the weakest human condition (as a baby). Why did God choose the hardest place to be born in the cold weather? Why did God choose to be born in a manger in a stable, which is very cold, filthy and unsanitary with an unpleasant smell? Why did the birth have to be in such a way that it was not only hard physically, but also socially? It must have brought such shame for Mary and her fiancé that she was pregnant before marriage in the religious society of that time.

Dear sisters and brothers, the fact of the Gospel is that it is not only the story of Jesus, but it is the key of how we are to live and serve like Jesus. Today we like Him should come out of our safe comfort zone in order to proclaim the Word of Life and Salvation though faith in Jesus Christ and the penalty of sin that He paid on the cross and to proclaim His resurrection. We should be able to tolerate the cold, the difficulties and the shame in order to serve God. We should be able to enter into the pain of the cold dark world. Then we are able to give the fiery love of Christ to the cold wintery manger of those who are spiritually dead. It might be necessary to come out of the comfort of our lives and leave the loving embrace of our family to enter the manger of the lives of others, such as it has been for me for the third consecutive Christmas. It may be that we will be called fools and traitors and face many difficulties, but we should crucify our will and wishes even more until the world hears and tastes the true meaning of Christmas.

Christmas means that God came so that He would enter your hearts today and transform your lives and to replace your pain with indescribable joy.

Christmas is the manifestation of the radiant brightness of the Glory of God in the birth of a child named Emmanuel, which means God is with us.

Christmas is the day that the heat of the life-giving fire of God’s love shone in the dark cold wintry frozen hearts and burst forth in this deadly wicked world.

The same way that the heat from the earth’s core melts the hard stones in itself and produces lava, the fiery love of God, Jesus Christ, through the virgin Mary’s womb came to earth on Christmas to melt the hard heart of sin and wickedness of the world and removes them from our life. In the same process, the work of the Holy Spirit is a fiery rain of God’s Holiness and Mercy that flows into our body, soul and spirit and brings the light of Christ into us and through us making this dark, cold, wintry world into radiant burning brightness. He is turning our world into a world full of peace, joy, and love that is so different than the dark, cold, and wintry world that we used to live in. Hallelujah!

So this Christmas let the lava-like love of Christ enter into the depth of your heart and make you fiery, ready to pay any cost in order to bring the same lava love to the cold world around you, transforming them with the true message of Christmas.

Pastor Saeed Abedini

Soaking in the lava love of Christ

Knowing that pastor Saeed is suffering isn't something to bring joy to my heart.  It makes me feel badly.  For he is suffering and so is his family suffering, for not doing anything hateful to those who are persecuting him.

However, after reading the letter he sent, I am truly encouraged about how he is surviving, through this persecution trial in life.

I am truly grateful that pastor Saeed has not lost his love for our Lord.  I am truly grateful that he is able to focus on Christ.  Even though he is suffering... in many ways.

Thinking about how he is happy thinking about Christmas and his love of Jesus, and reading about how he wants others to realize that they too will suffer in their lives, made me realize that he is a solid, true believer.

A believer who realizes that true believers will suffer for righteousness' sake. 

Just as we read, in 1 Peter 3:17, "But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;"

God's Word, tells us that those suffering for righteousness' sake, need to be happy, and not be afraid.  Or, troubled.

While he is sorrowful of not being able to be with his family, he realizes that he needs to focus on Jesus Christ.

I must admit, I praise God for this.  For his focus on Jesus Christ is what is helping him to get through this terroristic trial in life.  And, is making him overcome this horrible ordeal.

For this, I am grateful.  And, I will continue praying for him... and his family.

Hopefully, you will do all you can and pray, also.


Until next time...

If you would like to comment, please e-mail:  lifewithlynnie@gmail.com